Sunday, 22 February 2009


I was musing to a friend recently about how I find it odd that when I ask people what sort of music they like, they normally say "a bit of everything, really". This is invariably followed by either "except heavy metal", or "except country music". I don't understand what people have against heavy metal or country music, but credit to any genre that forces people into having an opinion about it.

At any rate, my friend replied that she doesn't like country music either - except for the song "Jolene" by Dolly Parton which she likes very much. I had another listen to it today, and it is indeed a terrific song.

Besides the fact it has a pleasing melody and the guitar interacts well with the percussion, it's a good theme for a song. The general gist goes that Dolly is singing to a woman who could easily seduce the man that she loves, and she's pleading her not to. For Jolene, who is beautiful, it would simply be another conquest but for Dolly, she would lose her only true love and be left with nothing.

This presents a dilemma which women in relationships might more often face than men. Dolly knows that her partner, whom she loves, would cheat on her given the opportunity. In her heart, she understands that, accepts him and forgives him for it. But she just doesn't want to see it happen.

So I wonder two things: firstly, is this something that is commonly felt by women in relation to their boyfriends or husbands? Do women frequently feel threatened by other women? Secondly, do we judge each other's moral characters in terms of what the people around us have done, or what they would do, given the chance?

If we could accurately predict one another's response to a variety of given situations, it would probably lead to a lot of friendships and relationships becoming very strained very quickly. All sorts of unspoken anger and disappointments. So I guess part of the mechanism by which human relationships of any kind are allowed to operate is by sweeping certain doubts we have about our friends and lovers under the carpet, and only judging them as and when we're in a position where we're forced to.

Or maybe I'm being pessimistic. I'm not sure.


Karen said...

I have been told by women that they can feel frightened of people they find attractive. I asked one woman where she thought this came from, and she said it came from the fear of not being valued as much as she valued/adored the object/subject of her desire.

Paul Taberham said...

So you interpret Jolene as a 'closet-gay love triangle' love song?

Karen said...



I was just making a point about fear and desire, probably because I am looking for others possibilities!